Catching up with last year's NHLI graduates


NHLI graduates, Nora Clarke and Pamelbir Ladhar

Nora Clarke and Pamelbir Ladhar

We asked graduates from the MSc programmes in Genomic Medicine, and Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells, what they thought about their time spent at NHLI.

Why did you choose to study at the National Heart and Lung Institute (NHLI)? 

I chose to study the MSc in Genes, Drugs, and Stem Cells – Novel Therapies at the NHLI as it was one of the few Master’s programmes available with a focus on gene therapy. The dual nature of the course attracted me; I valued the research experience gained in the six-month research project, and the taught component provided me with the more in-depth understanding of the field I was looking for before entering academic research. Nora Clarke, Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells  

I chose the MSc in Genomic Medicine because I found that it covered a wide range of applications to the medical field. Genomics research is accelerating at an exciting rate, and so it felt natural to complete an MSc in such a relevant area. I am from a generic biomedical background so I was unsure of which area of research I wanted to pursue. However, the course was flexible enough for me to choose modules that were more suited to my interests. Kelly De Coteau, Genomic Medicine 

What did you enjoy most about the course? 

One of the aspects I enjoyed most was the variety of backgrounds that all the students came from; it made group discussions and debates particularly interesting as everyone brought their own knowledge and drew from their own personal experiences.  

I also thoroughly enjoyed the great range of lecturers who taught us. We heard from leading researchers and clinicians in their fields discussing cutting-edge technologies and the most recent developments. This offered a fantastic opportunity to network and discover more about areas I was particularly interested in. I was also given the chance to sit in on clinics with patients to see how genetic consultations are conducted. Isobel Turbin, Genomic Medicine

How did you manage your work/study balance? 

The course was perfect for me; I was able to apply what I learnt to my role as a Genetic Technologist in the Molecular Diagnostics lab at the Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital and it has enhanced my career prospects. I took the course part-time over two years whilst continuing to work full-time. I attended lectures for eight weeks spread over the two years and the rest was independent study. Having face-to-face lectures was essential for me to truly understand the concepts that were being taught. The lecturers are top researchers and medics in their specific fields, which made me feel privileged to be studying at Imperial and learning directly from the experts. Lisa Wilkhu, Genomic Medicine

Would you recommend this course to someone considering it?  

The content of the course focuses on the development of cutting-edge next generation therapies and understanding the mechanisms and rationale underpinning the therapies. The course content starts out quite broadly, so you get a good understanding of the various therapeutic disciplines, and then allows you to gain specialist knowledge in your preferred stream. It also has a focus on better understanding the world of scientific research, with themes such as drug development, licensing and public engagement intertwined with the lectures, tutorials and practicals.   

The course is incredibly interactive and keeps you engaged throughout. The staff are very much looking to continue improving and optimising the course, which means the course will get better year on year. So, I would highly recommend studying this course at the NHLI – this year has been my best year at Imperial! Pamelbir Ladhar, Genes, Drugs and Stem Cells 

What have you been up to since graduating? 

In October I joined the Vascular Science team at the NHLI to complete an MRes/PhD Studentship. The project itself looks at the role of endothelial enhancers in Cardiovascular disease and combines advanced Genomics and cardiovascular Biology. I would definitely recommend this course to those who are looking for a flexible MSc that can be tailored to their interests. The academics are helpful and supportive, especially with regards to students that are deciding their next steps. Kelly De Coteau, Genomic Medicine 

Kelly De Couteau and Isobel Turbin
Kelly De Coteau and Isobel Turbin

Find out more about postgraduate courses at NHLI.


Miss Lizzie Lomer

Miss Lizzie Lomer
National Heart & Lung Institute

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Alumni, Graduation
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